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Skyway pier demolition to begin this summer

St. Petersburg, Florida -- Officials say they expect partial demolition of the eastern Skyway piers to begin early next summer.  A total of 61 sections of the piers on both the north and south side of Tampa Bay will be removed as part of the project.

The work will take about 10 months to complete and will cost an estimated $4-million.

The eastern Skyway piers have been closed for nearly two years now due to safety concerns while the parallel western piers remain open.

Originally the piers were part of the approach to the old Skyway bridge.

The Florida Department of Transportation says eventually a decision will be made about the western piers as well. They are popular places for anglers but are aging.

Church service to close roads in Tarpon Springs Sunday

Tarpon Springs, Florida - The city today announced road closings for Sunday night because of services at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

Traffic will be delayed or detoured between about 8:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. during a Vespers service and procession.

The procession will start at the church at 36 North Pinellas Avenue, travel east on Orange Street, south on Stafford Avenue then west on Tarpon Avenue and return to the church.

Police say Pinellas Avenue traffic will be detoured west on Tarpon Avenue, and Tarpon Avenue traffic will be detoured north and south on Ring Avenue.


Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater this April

Clearwater, Florida - The 2011 Iron Girl Half Marathon will be held in Clearwater this April, organizers announced today.

The 5K run/walk replaces last year's 15K event and will feature a scenic one-loop course that starts and finishes on Clearwater Beach.

"Clearwater is excited to host the new Iron Girl Clearwater Half-Marathon and 5K next year," said Frank Hibbard, Mayor of Clearwater. "This new event strengthens our five-year relationship with World Triathlon Corporation."

For more information, visit www.IronGirl.com.


Reward offered for Largo murder suspect

Largo, Florida -- Largo Police and Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay are offering a $1,000 reward for information or a tip that can lead them to the arrest of a murder suspect.

Investigators say 26-year-old Larry Joe Jerry Jr. opened fire at a group of people entering the Rainbow Food Mart on Tuesday morning.  Ann Marie Conyers, 26, was hit in the lower torso and taken to the hospital, where she later died.

Mug Shot Gallery: Larry Joe Jerry's booking photos

Jerry is described as 5'10", 300 pounds and may have gold, jeweled teeth. Investigators consider Jerry armed and extremely dangerous. There is hope he will turn himself in, as he has a young child.

Island Estates host boat parade Dec. 11th

Clearwater, Florida -- One of the area's largest holiday boat parades will light up the Mandalay Channel Saturday, December 11th.

The event, sponsored by the Island Estates Yacht Club, is expected to feature 40-60 boats decorated with Santa, mistletoe and other illuminated signs of the season.

The vessels will assemble at the Mandalay Channel between Island Estates and Clearwater Beach at 6 p.m. and head north through the channel, arriving at Coachman Park by about 8 p.m. They then navigate under the Memorial Causeway Bridge to the Clearwater Yacht Club for judging.

Mariners with the best decorated boats will be awarded prizes of cash and gift certificates donated by local businesses.

Organizers say there is no parade entry fee. Interested participants should contact the Yacht Club Fleet Captain Tom Smith at (727) 776-3375 or Tom@TomSmith.com.

Accused killer: 'I want to go out like Jesse James'

Largo, Florida - Investigators are looking for a man accused of shooting and killing a girlfriend after she'd broken up with him.

Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, police say Larry Joe Jerry, 26, pulled up to the Rainbow Food Mart at 2575 East Bay Drive in Largo and began firing.

Annie Marie Conyers, 26, was shot in the abdomen and transported by Bayflight to a local hospital.  She later died from her injuries.

Mug Shot Gallery: Larry Joe Jerry's booking photos

Jerry has told family members he does not plan to surrender peacefully and wants to go down "like Jesse James."

Investigators are still searching for Jerry, who is considered armed and extremely dangerous.  In the past, he has beat a pregnant girlfriend and nearly run down a police officer, family members say.

Pinellas compromises on tourist tax extension

Pinellas compromises on tourist tax extension

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida - Following a four-and-a-hour meeting, the Pinellas Co. Board of County Commission (BOCC) approved a compromise that will extend the five percent rate to 2021.

The initial proposal, which called for an indefinite extension of the five percent rate, failed to get the five-vote supermajority necessary.  But when Commissioner Neil Brickfield switched his vote on the compromise plan, the 2021 extension passed, 5-2.

In October, the BOCC drafted an ordinance that would pave the way for funding for the new Dali Museum as well as a potential new baseball stadium in Pinellas County.  However, newly-elected Commissioner Norm Roche has expressed interest in letting the tax lapse with no new stadium proposal on the table.